Even the smallest reductions in traffic speeds can deliver major improvements to road safety.
The reasons are simple - “the higher the speed, the longer the stopping distance, the harder the crash and the greater the risk of death and injury.”
This is the core message of the ‘No Need to Speed’ campaign which is the focus for this year’s Road Safety Week activities. It’s a theme which has special resonance for highway workers.
Highways England log around 300 incidents each week involving roadwork risks and research suggests over half (54%) of highway workers have experienced at least one near-miss incident.
This is what makes speed management such a crucial part of roadworks safety and why TASCAR has an important role to play in reducing risks.
What is TASCAR?
TASCAR is the acronym used by Highways England for Temporary Automatic Speed Camera System for the Enforcement of Mandatory Speed Limits at Roadworks. TASCAR systems use a network of cameras placed along a stretch of road to record the average speed of vehicles.
Initially, mostly used to monitor long sections of highway, lower costs and improved technology now make them equally as effective on short stretches of 100 metres or more. They have established themselves as a dependable way to increase compliance while minimising disruption to traffic flow.
How does TASCAR work?
A digital image is taken of a vehicle’s registration using Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR). As the vehicle passes each camera, a separate record is made of the time, date and speed. This information is securely encrypted and automatically uploaded to a data control unit via a wireless connection.
The system collates the data and uses it to calculate an accurate average speed for each vehicle. Anything above a set limit is flagged with details securely stored. These can be checked and reviewed with appropriate action taken.
The data collected by a TASCAR operation is legally admissible as evidence of speeding. The systems can be set up so that violations are automatically linked to a ticketing process.
How effective are average speed cameras?
A 2016 study commissioned by the RAC Foundation looked at data from 51 average speed camera sites over a 15 year period. It found that lower speeds reduced fatal and serious collisions by 36.4% and personal injury collisions by 16%.
The report concluded:
“The results show that ASC systems are effective in reducing collisions, especially those of high severity. Even after allowing for the effects of trend and regression to the mean, highly significant reductions are noted.”
It supports the findings of a four-year study commissioned by the Department for Transport. This recorded a 70% reduction in speeding at fixed sites, resulting in a 42% drop in fatalities and serious injuries.
What are the benefits compared to traditional spot cameras?
A common problem with traditional speed cameras is that motorists adapt their behaviour to try and ‘beat’ the system. Road users will brake heavily before a known camera spot to create increased risks and the bunching of traffic.
There’s also a perception of unfairness, that they will punish a driver for any kind of temporary breach of a limit, irrespective of the circumstances or duration. With average speeds, it’s viewed as being a much fairer representation of driver behaviour.
Drivers approaching a well signed TASCAR zone know there's no way to ‘trick’ the system - other than driving at an appropriate speed. It improves compliance and helps to maintain a safe, steady traffic flow.
Highway Care TASCAR and road barrier solutions
Our experienced Operational Delivery Services team has the ability to provide and install TASCAR solutions alongside BG800 temporary barrier. Therefore, protecting road workers via temporary steel barrier and acting as a deterrent for motorists who thoughtlessly and needlessly speed through road works.
Call today on +44 (0)344 840 0088 to find out more about our TASCAR and temporary barrier solutions and other highway safety products and services or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
More about Road Safety Week
Road Safety Week is organised by road safety charity Brake and has been held annually since its launch in 1997. The event brings together groups, organisations and businesses throughout the UK including employers, schools, local authorities and armed services.